The Russo Brothers began their Marvel cinematic journey with Captain America – The Winter Soldier. Their solid debut followed by Civil War and Infinity War, proving their ability to offer truly engaging and character led superhero films that had cross generational appeal. However despite the safe hands of the Russo Brothers, Endgame came with the significant risk of providing a satisfying ending to a saga that fans and casual viewers could engage with and enjoy. Ending a multi character saga is never easy, with multiple expectations and ideas in the public domain before the creative vision is complete; this can be a process fraught with potential disappointment.
Endgame manages to succeed in its finale where many other films have failed, providing a film that delivers emotion and humour alongside beautiful character studies and surprises, wrapped in a homage to the central heroes who created a successful universe.
Picking up where Infinity War left off, Endgame surprises the audience within the first 45 minutes with a narrative focussing on loss, unspoken truths and revenge, allowing its talented cast to explore the hidden depths of the characters they have built over many years of cinematic adventures. This is a narrative that never rushes the audience or the cast, allowing the characters to shine and develop, clearly stamping the films mission in ending one journey and beginning another, without giving anything away in the twists and turns that follow.
Central to this journey is Tony Stark (Downey Jr) and Captain America (Evans) and in many ways Endgame is their film, placing the relationship between the the two men centre stage, while allowing both actors to fully explore the journey their characters have taken.
There are some weaknesses in the delivery of Endgame, with newer characters such as Captain Marvel simply used as plot devices, this is a film that celebrates the past rather than focussing on the future, and to this end it does leave questions around the Marvel cinematic universe moving forward; especially after the rather dull Ant Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel that were clearly mere cogs in the wheel of making Endgame work. However, despite these problems, there is no escaping the sheer vision, joy and emotion of Endgame, and its ability to wrap you into a comforting yet challenging superhero story with performances that shine and honour the characters they portray.
Endgame is also beautiful to watch, its three hour running time made easy through visually stunning cinematography and a rich and engaging score from Silvestri that reflects the epic nature of the film. Endgames cast list is equally stunning, reading more like the attendance list of award ceremony than the on screen talent of a modern film.
The Avengers journey has been a true cultural phenomenon of modern film, reigniting the superhero genre while dovetailing a whole cinematic universe of colour and diversity into a core central journey alongside characters of depth. While not always perfect in plot devices, Endgame manages to deliver an exquisite curtain call for characters who have become central to the rebirth of comic books on screen.